The Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research (CMI) stands as a centre of excellence in quantitative social science.

Our primary mission is to furnish rigorous empirical solutions to present-day social and political enquiries and to empower others to do the same.

The Institute serves as a focal point at The University of Manchester for applying quantitative methods in interdisciplinary social science research, creating a world-class research environment.

Our endeavours contribute to advancing quantitative social science (QSS) in three pivotal ways.

  • By developing robust methods and intricate data forms for QSS.
  • By applying these methods and data to address significant social and political questions.
  • By delivering top-tier training to enhance the essential skills and capacity of researchers engaging in QSS.

CMI builds on the strengths of two prior research centres in the Social Sciences at The University of Manchester: the Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Surveys Research and the Institute for Social Change.

Presently, we are cultivating our reputation for quantitative social science and the advancement and application of sophisticated quantitative methods. We bring together expertise in statistical modeling and survey research methods, with a specific focus on political participation, aging, ethnicity, health, class, gender, and labour. This interdisciplinary approach enables us to offer highly original and creative insights into understanding contemporary problems.

About Cathie Marsh

Although she was only 41 when she passed away on January 1, 1993, Cathie Marsh had already emerged as a leading quantitative sociologist in the UK and was beginning to gain international recognition for her work.

After her studies at Cambridge, where she pursued oriental studies in Part I and social and political sciences in Part II, she joined the then Social Science Research Council as a research assistant. Returning to Cambridge in 1976, she became a Fellow of Newnham, a lecturer in sociology, and Director of Studies in Social and Political Sciences before leaving in 1990.

From 1988-1989, she served as a Simon Fellow in the sociology department at The University of Manchester, where she held a Nuffield Fellowship in 1989-1990. Appointed to a joint lectureship in the departments of sociology and econometrics in 1990, she achieved a personal chair in Quantitative Methods in 1992.

As a key member of the ESRC Census Working Group on the feasibility of making census data available to researchers, her methodological work on anonymised records played a crucial role in the decision by OPCS to produce Samples of Anonymised Records (SARs) from the 1991 Census. In 1993, The Census Microdata Unit was established at The University of Manchester to disseminate the SARs, with Cathie as its inaugural director. Tragically, she did not live to witness the success of her efforts.

In choosing to name our centre after her, we commemorate not only a brilliant academic but also a much-loved wife, mother, colleague, and friend.

Watch our video remembering Cathie Marsh.